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Carnegie Hall | © Gmaemejota/WikiCommons
Carnegie Hall | © Gmaemejota/WikiCommons

A Brief History Of Carnegie Hall, NYC

Picture of Dana deLaski
Updated: 11 August 2016
Carnegie Hall is located at 57th Street and 7th Avenue in Midtown, Manhattan. It was built in 1891, and today, it’s known as one of the most prestigious concert venues in the world. It showcases around 250 musical performances each season, presenting everything from classical to popular music.

Designed by the architect William Burnet Tuthill and funded to be built by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Hall has auditoriums that, together, hold 3,671 seats. The Main Hall houses the Isaac Stern Auditorium and Ronald O. Perelman Stage. The auditorium seats 2,804 spectators on five different levels. There’s also Zankel Hall, the first auditorium open to the public in 1981, which seats 599 audience members. Finally, there’s Weill Recital Hall, the smallest of the auditoriums, seating 268 people.

Though it now hosts performers of various backgrounds, Carnegie Hall was originally intended to be the home of the New York Symphony Society and the Oratorio Society of New York, as Andrew Carnegie was affiliated with both organizations.

In 1925, Andrew Carnegie sold the building to a real estate developer, who then offered to sell it to the New York Philharmonic, who, at the time, had been the space’s resident performing group since the building’s creation. When the Philharmonic declined in favor of Lincoln Center, it seemed like the building was doomed, and it was scheduled to be demolished to make room for a commercial skyscraper. But miraculously, pressured by a group of artists led by Isaac Stern (who the main auditorium is now named after), a law was passed that allowed the City Of New York to purchase the building. Finally, in 1960, the ‘Carnegie Hall Corporation’ was born, and the space was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

Ever since, Carnegie Hall has hosted some of the most celebrated musicians of all time. Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina Turner, and so many others have made appearances, and many of their signed photographs hang on the walls of the lobby.

For the 2016-2017 season, members can begin purchasing tickets on Monday, August 22nd. You can check out their website for a full calendar of events, information about all the shows, plus logistical information about tickets, how to get there, etc.